List of historical drama films

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The historical drama is a film genre in which stories are based upon historical events and famous people. Some historical dramas are docudramas, which attempt an accurate portrayal of a historical event or biography, to the degree that the available historical research will allow. Other historical dramas are fictionalized tales that are based on an actual person and their deeds, such as Braveheart, which is loosely based on the 13th-century knight William Wallace's fight for Scotland's independence.

Due to the sheer volume of films included in this genre and in the interest of continuity, this list is primarily focused on films pertaining to the history of Near Eastern and Western civilization. For films pertaining to the history of East Asia, Central Asia, and South Asia, please refer also to the list of Asian historical drama films.

Films set in prehistory[edit]

Films set in Antiquity (until the fall of the Roman Empire in the West)[edit]

Films set in Antiquity (until the fall of the Roman Empire in the West)
Title Release date Time period Notes on setting
La Donna dei Faraoni 1961 3100 BC shortly after the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt
Land of the Pharaohs 1956 2589-2566 BC based on the reign of Pharaoh Khufu
Il Sepolcro dei re 1960 2589-2566 BC based on the reign of Pharaoh Khufu
Sudan 1945 2558-2532 BC set during the reign of the pharaoh Khafra
The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior 2008 2270-2215 BC set during the reign of Sargon of Akkad
The Egyptian 1954 1350 BC based on the novel by Mika Waltari, who adapted the Story of Sinuhe. In the film is mentioned the pharaoh Akhenaten, the Hittite Empire, and iron technology.
Slave of Dreams 1995 1544 BC set in Egypt and based on the story of Joseph
Joseph 1995 1544 BC Egypt, probably during the reign of Ahmose I
The Ten Commandments 1956 c. 15th-13th century BC Egypt, during the reign of an unnamed Pharaoh, based on the story of the Exodus
Nefertiti, Regina del Nilo 1961 c. 1370-1330 BC Egypt; loosely based on Nefertiti
Iphigenia 1977 c. 1200 BC Greece immediately before the soldiers set sail to attack Troy
Helen of Troy 1956 c. 1200 BC western Anatolia during the Trojan War
Troy 2004 c. 1200 BC western Anatolia during the Trojan War
L'ira di Achille 1962 c. 1200 BC western Anatolia in the 9th year of the Trojan War
Guerra di Troia 1961 c. 1200 BC western Anatolia in the 10th and final year of the Trojan War
The Trojan Women 1971 c. 1200 BC the immediate aftermath of the Trojan War
La Leggenda di Enea 1962 early 12th century BC Aeneas struggles to establish a new home-land in Italy for his fellow survivors of the Trojan War
Electra 1962 early 12th century BC the daughter of the Greek king Agamemnon seeks revenge for her father's murder
Ulysses 1955 early 12th century BC the ten-year struggle of Odysseus to return home to Ithaca in Greece after the Trojan War
The Odyssey 1997 early 12th century BC
Pharaoh 1966 1069 BC Egypt during the reign of a fictitious king "Ramses XIII" (there were only 11 by that name)
King David 1985 c. 1040-970 BC southern Levant
A Story of David 1960 c.1040-970 BC southern Levant
David e Golia 1960 c.1040-970 BC southern Levant
David and Bathsheba 1951 1040-970 BC
Solomon and Sheba 1959 1011-931 BC southern Levant
Sins of Jezebel 1953 874-853 BC southern Levant during the reign of king Ahab
Io, Semiramide 1962 810 BC Assyria
King Lear 1971 800 BC Celtic pre-Roman Britain
King Lear 1999 800 BC Celtic pre-Roman Britain
Romolo e Remo 1961 753 BC based on the story of Romulus and Remus, and the founding of the city of Rome
El Rapto de las Sabinas 1962 c. 750 BC early Roman foundation myth
Orazi e Curiazi 1961 c. 650 BC Roman legend of the Horatii
Le Sette Folgori di Assur 1962 c. 627 BC Neo-Assyrian Empire; focusing largely on Sardanapalus (probably the Greek name for Ashurbanipal, but anachronistically including Zoroaster (11th-10th century BC) and Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC)
La cortigiana di Babilonia 1954 600 BC Neo-Babylonian Empire
L'eroe di Babilonia 1963 539 BC Cyrus the Great conquer Babylonia
Il Colosso di Roma 1964 509 BC combining the Roman legends of Gaius Mucius Scaevola and the expulsion of Tarquin, the last tyrant
Coriolano: eroe senza patria 1964 493 BC Roman legend of Gaius Marcius Coriolanus
La battaglia di Maratona 1959 490 BC Greece: Battle of Marathon
The 300 Spartans 1961 480 BC Greece: Battle of Thermopylae
300 2007 480 BC Greece: Battle of Thermopylae
300: Rise of an Empire 2014 480 BC Greece: Battle of Salamis
Ester e il re 1960 465-424 BC the biblical story of Esther
One Night with the King 2006 465-424 BC the biblical story of Esther set in the Achaemenid Empire
Il tiranno di Siracusa 1961 400 BC Syracuse, Sicily
Brenno il nemico di Roma 1963 387 BC the Gallic sack of Rome
Alexander the Great 1956 356-323 BC Macedonia and Persia
Alexander 2004 356-323 BC Macedonia and Persia
Il Colosso di Rodi 1961 280 BC
Asoka 2001 304-232 BC Ancient India, during early years of the rule of Maurya emperor Asoka
Revak the Rebel 1960 c. 218 BC Iberian Peninsula immediately before the Second Punic War
Siege of Syracuse 1960 214-212 BC the Roman Siege of Syracuse during the Second Punic War
Cabiria 1914 (silent) 218-202 BC during the Second Punic War
The Secret Under the Rose 2006 218-202 BC during the Second Punic War
Hannibal 1959 218-202 BC during the Second Punic War
Scipio Africanus: The Defeat of Hannibal 1937 202 BC Battle of Zama which ended the Second Punic War
The Centurion 1961 146 BC Battle of Corinth between Rome and the Achaean League
Spartaco 1953 73-71 BC the Third Servile War in Rome
Spartacus 1960 73-71 BC the Third Servile War in Rome
Spartacus 2004 73-71 BC the Third Servile War in Rome
Julius Caesar 2002 100-44 BC a bio-pic of Julius Caesar, not the Shakespeare play about his death and the aftermath
Druids 2001 58-51 BC the struggle between Julius Caesar and Vercingetorix in the Gallic Wars
A Queen for Caesar 1962 48 BC Egypt leading up to the arrival of Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar 1953 44-42 BC Shakespeare's play about the death and aftermath of this famous dictator
Julius Caesar 1970 44-42 BC Shakespeare's play about the death and aftermath of this famous dictator
Cleopatra 1934 48-30 BC Egypt and Rome - follows her relationships first with Julius Caesar and then with Mark Antony
Cleopatra 1963 48-30 BC Egypt and Rome - follows her relationships first with Julius Caesar and then with Mark Antony
Cleopatra 1999 48-30 BC
The Cleopatras 1983 305-30 BC Egypt - The entire Ptolemaic dynasty
Rome 2005–2007 52-30 BC from the end of the Gallic Wars to the death of Mark Antony and the beginning of the Principate
Empire 2005 1st century BC Rome
Imperium: Augustus 2003 49 BC - 14 AD Rome - the life of Augustus, the first emperor
Massacre in the Black Forest 1967 9 AD Germany - The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, where the Cheruski ambushed and annihilated three Roman legions.
I, Claudius 1976 12 BC - 54 AD Rome - the reigns and family life of the Julio-Claudians
The Nativity Story 2006 7–2 BC Judea - The Biblical account of the nativity of Jesus, following the story of Mary and Joseph until the birth of Jesus occurs.
Jesus of Nazareth 1977 7–2 BC to 30–36 AD Judea - the life of Jesus christ
The Passion of the Christ 2004 33 AD Judea - The final 12 hours of Jesus christ life
The Caesars 1967 27 BC - 68 Rome - the Julio-Claudian dynasty
Ben-Hur 1959 c. 26-35 Roman Empire - mostly in the province of Judea
The Inquiry 2006 c. 37 Roman province of Judea shortly after the death of Jesus
The Robe 1953 30-36 Rome - ending reign of Tiberius, the beginning of Caligula
Imperium: Saint Peter 2005 ca. 33-64 Saint Peter
Caligula 1979 37-41 Rome - the reign of the third emperor
Demetrius and the Gladiators 1954 41 Ancient Rome - the end Caligula reign
Boudica 2003 60 Britain - a rebellion shortly after the area had been conquered by Rome
Nero 2004 41-68 Rome - spanning the reigns of Claudius and Nero
St. Thomas 1975 52-72 Rome - low budget Indian film on the missionary work of Thomas the Apostle in India.
Quo Vadis 1951 54-68 Rome during the reign of Nero
Masada 1981 72-73 Roman province of Judea during the First Jewish–Roman War
Dacii 1967 86-87 Dacia (modern Romania) -Domitian's Dacian War
The Apocalypse 2002 c. 90-96 Rome - Ephesus
Revolt of the Praetorians 1964 96 Rome - the assassination of Domitian
The Column 1968 105-106 the Roman Emperor Trajan conquering Dacia
Centurion 2010 117 Roman Britain - the supposed fate of the Ninth Legion
The Eagle 2011 140 Roman Britain - a young Roman man attempts to find out what happened to his father and the Ninth Legion
The Fall of the Roman Empire 1964 180-192 Rome during the reign of Commodus
Gladiator 2000 180-192 Rome during the reign of Commodus
The Magnificent Gladiator 1964 c. 260-268 Rome during the reign of Gallienus
Sheba and the Gladiator 1959 c. 260-273 Rome and the Palmyrene Empire during the reigns of Aurelian and Zenobia
Sebastiane 1976 c. 288 Rome Low-budget homo-erotic film about Saint Sebastian
Katherine of Alexandria 2012 307 Roman province of Egypt shortly before the legalization of Christianity
Constantine and the Cross 1962 306-312 AD Rome's first Christian emperor from the death of Constantius Chlorus to the Battle of the Milvian Bridge
Fabiola 1949 c. 312 Rome early in the reign of Constantine I
Mayura 1975 354-365 AD Kannada film set in Kadamba Dynasty, during the reign of Raja Mayurasharma
Augustine of Hippo 1972 354-430 Roman province of Africa
Augustine: The Decline of the Roman Empire 2010 354-430 Roman province of Africa - focusing on the life of Augustine of Hippo, and including the Vandal conquest of Carthage
Roar 1997 400 Ireland - Celtic warriors attempt to repel a fictitious Roman invasion
Agora 2009 c. 360-415 Life and death of scientist/philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria and the destruction of the Library.
Revenge of the Barbarians 1960 410 the Visigothic sack of Rome
St. Patrick: The Irish Legend 2000 387-493 Ireland and Roman Britain during the life of Saint Patrick
Attila 1954 406-453 Rome - the Hunnic leader up to his retreat from the Po river
Attila 2001 406-453 Rome - the life and death of the famous Hunnic leader
Die Nibelungen 1924 c. 450 about the Germanic hero Siegfried, his murder, and his widow's vengeance
Die Nibelungen 1967 c. 450 about the Germanic hero Siegfried, his murder, and his widow's vengeance
Ring of the Nibelungs 2004 c. 450 about the Germanic hero Siegfried
Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire 2006 2nd century BC - 410 From Tiberius Gracchus to the Sack of Rome (410). BBC Docu-drama.
Pompeii 2014 62-79 AD Pompeii in the days leading up to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius

Late Antiquity/Early Middle Ages (5th to 10th centuries)[edit]

Late Antiquity/Early Middle Ages (5th to 10th centuries)
Title Release date Time period Notes on setting
King Arthur 2004 early 5th century the Roman withdrawal from Britain and the Battle of Mount Badon
Hagbard and Signe 1967 5th century Scandinavia during the Germanic Heroic Age
Arthur of the Britons 1972–1973 5th century Britain after the Roman withdrawal
The Last Legion 2007 476-490 connecting (in heavily fictionalized fashion) the deposition of the last Roman emperor Romulus Augustus by Odoacer with the Battle of Mount Badon
The Mists of Avalon 2001 late 5th - early 6th centuries heavily fictionalized story of King Arthur
Teodora 1919 c. 500-548 Byzantine empress Theodora
Theodora, Slave Empress 1954 c. 500-548 Byzantine empress Theodora
The Last Roman 1968/1969 526-553 the Ostrogoths' struggle against the Byzantine emperor Justinian I and his generals Belisarius and Narses - adaption of a novel by Felix Dahn
Lovespell 1981 6th century Britain and Ireland- adaptation of the Brythonic legend of Tristan and Iseult
Tristan + Isolde 2006 6th century Britain and Ireland - adaptation of the Brythonic legend of Tristan and Iseult
Grendel Grendel Grendel 1981 6th century animated film based on the 1971 novel Grendel, retelling the Anglo-Saxon poem from the monster's perspective
Grendel 2007 6th century Denmark in the Germanic Heroic Age - very loose adaptation of the Anglo-Saxon poem of Beowulf
Beowulf & Grendel 2005 6th century Denmark in the Germanic Heroic Age - loose adaptation of the Anglo-Saxon poem of Beowulf
Beowulf 2007 6th century Denmark in the Germanic Heroic Age - loose adaptation of the Anglo-Saxon poem of Beowulf
Hamlet 1964 6th century Denmark in the Germanic Heroic Age - this is a Russian adaptation of the Shakespeare play based on the Danish legend of Amleth
Prince of Jutland 1994 6th century Denmark in the Germanic Heroic Age - legend of Amleth from the Danish Gesta Danorum
Goliath and the Barbarians 1959 568 the Lombard invasion of Italy
Sword of the Conqueror 1961 567-572 Alboin and the Lombard invasion of Italy
The Message 1976 570-632 Arabian Peninsula - the life of Muhammad
681 AD: The Glory of Khan 1981 632-681 epic about the fall of Old Great Bulgaria and the creation of modern day Bulgaria; focuses on Kanasubigi Asparuh's life
Roland the Mighty 1956 778 Roland, a knight of Charlemagne's court who was killed at the Battle of Roncevaux Pass
Charlemagne, le prince à cheval 1993 768-800 Charlemagne's reign up to his coronation as emperor in 800
An Ancient Tale: When the Sun Was a God 2003 c. 800 Poland - the death of Popiel and the rise of Piast the Wheelwright
Attack of the Normans 1962 early 9th century set in England during the Viking Age ("Normans" in the title being used in its original continental sense, meaning "Vikings")
The Last Viking 1997 9th century Viking Age
Pope Joan 1972 9th - 11th century Fictitious medieval legend of a woman who disguised herself as a man and rose to the status of Pope in the Middle Ages.
Pope Joan 2009 814-855(?) Fictitious medieval legend of a woman who disguised herself as a man and rose to the status of Pope in the Middle Ages.
The Vikings 1958 860s highly fictionalized account of the death of Ragnar Lodbrok and the subsequent invasion of Northumbria by two of his sons
Alfred the Great 1969 c. 870-899 England - Alfred the Great, king of Wessex repels the army of Guthrum and begins the unification of England
The Saxon Chronicles 2006 c. 871-899 England - the reign of Alfred the Great
A Viking Saga 2008 870s Russia - the Rus prince Oleg of Novgorod defeats Askold and Dir
Boris I 1985 852-889 St. Boris I Michael (first half of the 9th century - 2 May 907), a Bulgarian tzar who imposed Christianity in AD 865 and introduced the new Slavonic alphabets of Glagolitza and Cyrillic in the Kingdom of Bulgaria
The Conquest 1996 896 Magyar settlement in Hungary
When the Raven Flies 1984 897 Iceland in the Viking Age
Útlaginn 1981 9th century Iceland - adaptation of the saga of Gisli Sursson
Pathfinder 1987 c. 900 Norway - based on a Sami legend
In the Shadow of the Raven 1988 c. 900 Iceland in the Viking Age
White Viking 1991 c. 900 Iceland in the Viking Age
The 13th Warrior 1999 922 blends elements of the historical account of the travels of Ahmad ibn Fadlan (AD 922), the legend of Beowulf (6th century), and the Kurosawa film Seven Samurai
The Castilian 1963 930-970 Ferdinand Gonzalez: an early hero of the Spanish Reconquista
Gniazdo 1974 c. 972 about Mieszko I of Poland
The Viking Sagas 1995 late 10th, early 11th centuries Iceland - borrows elements from several Icelandic sagas, most notably Laxdœla saga and Njáls saga
The Ceremony of Innocence 1970 978-1016 a fictionalized version of the reign of Æthelred the Unready
Njálssaga 2003 960-1020 Iceland - adaptation of Njáls saga
The Viking 1928 999 or 1000 Leif Ericson and the expedition to North America
Valhalla Rising 2009 1000 Scandinavia and North America in 1000 AD

High and Late Middle Ages (1000-1453)[edit]

High and Late Middle Ages (1000-1453)
Title Release date Time period Setting Notes
Severed Ways 2009 1007 North America two Scandinavians left behind in North America after the settlements made by Leif Ericson were abandoned
Prince Vladimir 2006 980-1015 Kievan Rus' Vladimir I of Kiev
Yaroslav - A millenium ago 2011 1000–1010 Kievan Rus' bio-pic about the Rus prince Yaroslav I the Wise
Yaroslav the Wise 1981 978-1054 Kievan Rus' bio-pic about the Rus prince Yaroslav I the Wise
Macbeth 1971 1050s Scotland Scottish king Mac Bethad mac Findlaích
Macbeth 1997 1050s Scotland Scottish king Mac Bethad mac Findlaích
Lady Godiva of Coventry 1955 1050s England an English noble woman who allegedly rode naked through the streets of Coventry in protest of unfair taxation
William the Conqueror 1982 1066 England William the Conqueror, the Norman duke who conquered England
Blood Royal: William the Conqueror 1990 1066 England During the Norman conquest
1066 2011 1066 England During the Norman conquest
Hereward the Wake 1965 1066–1087 England Hereward the Wake, the Anglo-Danish leader who led a resistance against Norman rule
El Cid 1961 1040–1099 Spain / Kingdom of Castile Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, an 11th-century Spanish warrior known as El Cid
The Raid of the Aegean 1946 1096–1099 Eastern Mediterranean Sea First Crusade
The Mighty Crusaders 1958 1096–1099 Levant First Crusade
Rytsarskiy roman 2000 1096–1099 Byzantine Empire First Crusade
The Crusaders 2001 1096–1099 Italy and the Levant First Crusade
Stealing Heaven 1988 c. 1120 France Peter Abelard and Héloïse
Didgori: Land of Sacrificed Knights 2009 1121 Kingdom of Georgia Battle of Didgori, in which Georgia's king David IV defeated the Seljuks
The Pillars of the Earth 2010 1120–1170 England during the civil wars between King Stephen and his cousin Maud
Destiny 1997 1126–1198 Spain about Averroes, the 12th-century philosopher from Muslim-controlled Andalusia in Spain whose commentaries would become a staple for subsequent generations of students of Aristotle in Europe
The Devil's Crown 1978 1154–1216 England During the reigns of Henry II, Richard I and John
Becket 1964 1155–1170 England archbishop Thomas Becket, once a close personal friend of Henry II
Barbarossa 2009 1176 Northern Italy Battle of Legnano
The Lion in Winter 1968 1183 England Henry II is in power as his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine plots with their sons
The Lion in Winter 2003 1183 England Henry II is in power as his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine plots with their sons
Kingdom of Heaven 2005 1183–1190 Kingdom of Jerusalem events which led to the Third Crusade (the Battle of Hattin and the Siege of Jerusalem)
Soldier of God 2005 1187 Kingdom of Jerusalem a Templar who has survived the Battle of Hattin
Saladin 1963 1187–1192 Levant events leading up to and including the Third Crusade
Richard the Lion-Hearted 1923 1190 Levant based on Sir Walter Scott's The Talisman and set in the Third Crusade
Richard the Lion-Hearted 1992 1190 Levant based on Sir Walter Scott's The Talisman and set in the Third Crusade
Knight Kenneth 1993 1190 Levant based on Sir Walter Scott's The Talisman and set in the Third Crusade
Arn – The Knight Templar 2007 1179–1187 Kingdom of Jerusalem a Swedish knight is sent to Jerusalem as penance while his lover languishes in a convent
Arn – The Kingdom at Road's End 2008 1187–1205 The Levant and Sweden following the Battle of Hattin, the knight returns home to Sweden and participates in the civil wars
Ivanhoe 1997 1192 England adaptation of the novel by Sir Walter Scott about the English knight who returns from the Third Crusade to find that his name has been falsely slandered
The Adventures of Robin Hood 1938 1190s England During the life of Richard the Lionheart after his release from captivity in 1194
Robin Hood 2010 1199 England from the death of Richard the Lionheart until the early reign of King John
Robin and Marian 1976 1199-c. 1201 England from the death of Richard the Lionheart until the early reign of King John
The Life and Death of King John 1951 1199–1216 England The reign of King John
The Life and Death of King John 1984 1199–1216 England The reign of King John
Francis of Assisi 1961 1182–1226 Italy Francis of Assisi
Brother Sun, Sister Moon 1972 1181–1226 Italy Francis of Assisi
Francesco 1989 1181–1226 Italy Francis of Assisi
Gates to Paradise 1968 1212 France the ill-fated Children's Crusade
Ironclad 2011 1215 England the siege of Rochester Castle
Eye of the Eagle 1997 1218 Denmark
Alexander - Battle of Neva 2008 1240 Russia Prince Alexander Nevsky and the Battle of Neva
Alexander Nevsky 1938 1241 North-eastern Europe Prince Alexander Nevsky and the Battle of the Ice
Valley of the Bees 1968 13th century Kingdom of Bohemia
The Adventures of Marco Polo 1960 1254–1325 China the Italian explorer who traveled to the court of Kublai Khan
Marco Polo 1982 1254–1325 China the Italian explorer who traveled to the court of Kublai Khan
Marco Polo 2007 1254–1325 China the Italian explorer who traveled to the court of Kublai Khan
Herkus Mantas 1972 1260–1273 Prussia the Great Prussian Uprising against the Teutonic Knights during the Northern Crusades
The Virgin Spring 1960 late 13th century Sweden adaptation of the 13th century Swedish ballad, Töres döttrar i Wänge
The Black Rose 1950 mid-to-late 13th century China the fictional exploits of a young Englishman who travells to China, falls in love along the way, and manages to return with a formula for gunpowder
Knights of the Quest 2001 1271 Europe French knights journey to Greece to retrieve the Shroud of Turin
Braveheart 1995 1296–1305 Great Britain William Wallace, a Scotsman who fought for Scotland's independence in the 1290s
The Bruce 1996 1274–1329 Scotland Robert the Bruce, who took over the rebellion against Edward "Longshanks" following the death of William Wallace in 1305
Les Rois Maudits 1972 1285–1328 France the later Capetian dynasty and the arrest of the order of the Knights Templar and the seizure of their wealth by the French crown in 1307
Les Rois Maudits 2005 1285–1328 France the later Capetian dynasty and the arrest of the order of the Knights Templar and the seizure of their wealth by the French crown in 1307
The Tears of Saint Peter 1995 1300 Sweden a con-artist selling the "Tears of Peter," which are said to be a cure for any illness
Tower of Nesle 1955 1314 France Margaret of Burgundy, Queen of France
Tower of Screaming Virgins 1968 1314 France Margaret of Burgundy, Queen of France
Anchoress 1993 1325 France An anchorite
The Name of the Rose 1986 1327 Italy set in an Italian monastery
Kristin Lavransdatter 1995 early-to-mid-14th century Norway
The Decameron 1971 1348 Italy
Black Death 2010 1348 England During the initial outbreak of the plague
The Seventh Seal 1957 1349 Sweden During the initial outbreak of the plague
Second Sight 1994 1349 Norway During the initial outbreak of the plague
A Knight's Tale 2001 1356 England loose adaptation of The Knight's Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer, this tale is partially inspired by the exploits of William Marshall, but set in the 1350s (with mention made to Edward, the Black Prince and the Battle of Poitiers (1356))
Inês de Castro 1944 1357 Portugal Inês de Castro, the lover of Pedro I of Portugal, who had her posthumously declared his wife and queen in 1357
The Dark Avenger 1955 1359 England Edward, the Black Prince
Kazimierz Wielki 1976 1333–1370 Poland Casimir III the Great of Poland
John Wycliffe: The Morning Star 1984 1325–1384 England the life and teachings of John Wycliffe, the 14th-century English theologian who is often seen as a fore-runner of the Protestant Reformation
The Canterbury Tales 1972 late 14th century England
The Canterbury Tales 1998–2000 late 14th century England
The Reckoning 2003 1380 England
Richard the Second 1978 1367–1399 England adaptation of Shakespeare's play about Richard II
Boj na Kosovu 1989 1389 Eastern Europe a battle between Medieval Serbia and the Ottoman Empire
12 Paces Without a Head 2009 1401 Baltic Sea medieval German folk-hero Klaus Störtebeker, a pirate captain in the Baltic Sea who was said to have walked 12 paces after being decapitated by officials of the Hanseatic League
Mircea 1989 1386–1418 Wallachia Mircea the Elder, who repelled the Ottoman Empire during his reign
Andrei Rublev 1969 c. 1360-1430 Russia centered around the life of Andrei Rublev, who was considered to be the greatest medieval Russian painter of icons and frescoes
Krzyzacy 1960 1410 Eastern Europe the Battle of Grunwald
Henry V 1944 1413–1422 England and northern France Henry V of England's wars in France
Henry V 1989 1413–1422 England and northern France Henry V of England's wars in France
The Whore 2010 1414–1415 Germany
John Hus 1977 1415 Bohemian John Hus, the theologian from Prague whose proto-reformationist teachings prompted his conviction and execution for heresy, which would be the catalyst for the anti-imperial Hussite Wars which would plague central Europe in the 15th century
Joan of Arc 1948 1429 France Joan of Arc, the French heroine of the Hundred Years' War
Saint Joan 1957 1429 France Joan of Arc, the French heroine of the Hundred Years' War
Joan of Arc 1999 1429 France Joan of Arc, the French heroine of the Hundred Years' War
The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc 1999 1429 France Joan of Arc, the French heroine of the Hundred Years' War
The Passion of Joan of Arc 1928 1429 England The trial and execution of Joan of Arc
Joan the Maiden, Part 1: The Battles 1994 1429 France Joan of Arc, the French heroine of the Hundred Years' War
Joan the Maiden, Part 2: The Prisons 1994 1429 France Joan of Arc, the French heroine of the Hundred Years' War
Jeanne d'Arc, le pouvoir et l'innocence 1989 1429 France Joan of Arc, the French heroine of the Hundred Years' War
The Silence of Joan 2011 1431 France Joan of Arc, the French heroine of the Hundred Years' War
The Hour of the Pig 1993 1452 France a public defender in a remote, rural province finds himself expected to defend a pig in a murder trial
Tirante el Blanco 2006 15th century France and Constantinople adaptation of the 1490 romance, Tirant lo Blanc, about a French knight in the service of the Byzantine emperor in campaigns against the Ottoman Turks
Vlad Tepes 1979 1439–1476 Wallachia about prince Vlad the Impaler of Wallachia, who fought to repel the invading Muslim Ottoman Empire throughout his reign
Dark Prince: The True Story of Dracula 2000 1439–1476 Wallachia about prince Vlad the Impaler of Wallachia, who fought to repel the invading Muslim Ottoman Empire throughout his reign
The Conquest of Constantinople 1951 1453 Constantinople the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman sultan Mehmed II
Fetih 1453 2012 1453 Constantinople The siege of Constantinople in 1453 by the Ottoman Turks, ending the Byzantine Empire.

Renaissance and Early Modern (1454-1700)[edit]

Early Modern (1454-1700)
Title Release date Time period Notes on setting
Richard III 1955 1452–1485 Richard III of England
Black Arrow 1985 1455–1485 adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson novel about the Lancastrian hero in the Wars of the Roses
The Conclave 2006 1458 depicting this tense, politically charged Papal election
Tower of London 1939 1462-1483 during the reign of Edward IV of England
Tower of London 1962 1483-1485 during the reign of Richard III of England
The White Queen (TV series) 2013 1464 the House of York and the House of Lancaster, are in violent conflict over the throne][1]
Princes in the Tower 2005 1490s the trial of Perkin Warbeck, who claimed to be prince Richard, rightful heir to the throne before his untimely death in the Tower as a child
Christopher Columbus 1985 1492 the discovery and conquest of the New World by Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus: The Discovery 1992 1492 the discovery and conquest of the New World by Christopher Columbus
1492: Conquest of Paradise 1992 1492–1506 the discovery and conquest of the New World by Christopher Columbus
The Borgias 1981 1492–1503 the family life and papacy of Rodrigo Borgia, widely considered to be the epitome of papal corruption of the era
Los Borgia 2006 1492–1503 the family life and papacy of Rodrigo Borgia, widely considered to be the epitome of papal corruption of the era
Borgia 2011 1492–1503 the family life and papacy of Rodrigo Borgia, widely considered to be the epitome of papal corruption of the era
The Borgias 2011 1492–1503 the family life and papacy of Rodrigo Borgia, widely considered to be the epitome of papal corruption of the era
The Agony and the Ecstasy 1965 1508–1512 the painting of the Sistine Chapel
Luther 2003 1505–1530 Martin Luther
Henry VIII and His Six Wives 1972 1509–1547 Henry VIII of England
The Private Life of Henry VIII 1933 1509–1547 Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII 2003 1509–1547 Henry VIII of England
The Tudors 2007–2010 1509–1547 Henry VIII of England
The Other Conquest 1998 1521 Mexico, depicting the secret adherence to traditional religious beliefs of the converted Aztec survivors
Wara Wara 1930 16th century romance set at the time of the Spanish conquest of Bolivia
Apocalypto 2006 1502 Yucatan, Mexico, the declining period of the Maya civilization
The Headsman 2005 c. 1525 an executioner in Tyrol (part of the Holy Roman Empire)
A Man for All Seasons 1966 1525–1535 Thomas More
Anne of the Thousand Days 1969 1525–1536 Anne Boleyn, Queen Consort of King Henry VIII and the mother of Queen Elizabeth I
The Other Boleyn Girl 2008 1525–1536 Anne and Mary Boleyn
Ivan the Terrible 1944, 1958 1530–1584 two-part film about Ivan IV of Russia
Ivan the Terrible 2009 1530–1584 19-episodes TV Series about Ivan IV of Russia
Czar 2009 1530–1584 film about Ivan IV of Russia
The Royal Hunt of the Sun 1969 1532 Pizarro's capture of Atahualpa
Young Bess 1953 1535–1558 from the death of Anne Boleyn to the corronation of Elizabeth I of England
Mary of Scotland 1936 1542–1587 Mary, Queen of Scots
Mary, Queen of Scots 1971 1542–1587 Mary, Queen of Scots
Jodhaa Akbar 2008 1542–1605 The great love story of Mughal Empire Akbar the Great and Rajput princess Mariam uz-Zamani
Gunpowder, Treason & Plot 2004 1542–1605 the reigns of Mary, Queen of Scots and her son James I of England
The Return of Martin Guerre 1982 1548–1588 France - a true case of late medieval identity theft
Lady Jane 1986 1553 about Lady Jane Grey, the uncrowned queen regent of the Kingdom of England for nine days
The Virgin Queen 2005 1558–1603 the reign of Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth R 1971 1558–1603 the reign of Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth 1998 1558-15?? the early reign of Elizabeth I of England
Aguirre, the Wrath of God 1972 1560 Lope de Aguirre's ill-fated expedition down the Amazon
El Greco 2007 1567–1600 Greek biographical film about the life of the Greek painter of the Spanish Renaissance, Doménikos Theotokópoulos, known as El Greco
Dangerous Beauty 1998 1570 film is about Veronica Franco, a courtesan in sixteenth-century Venice who becomes a hero to her city, but later becomes the target of an inquisition by the Church for witchcraft.[2]
La Reine Margot 1994 1572 France during the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre
Elizabeth I 2005 1578–1603 the last 25 years of Elizabeth I of England's reign
Elizabeth: The Golden Age 2007 1585–1590 the Spanish Armada
Fire Over England 1937 1588 the Spanish Armada
Mihai Viteazul 1970 1593–1601 Michael the Brave, prince of Wallachia, Moldavia and Transylvania
The Merchant of Venice 2004 1596 Republic of Venice
Nova Zembla 2011 1596-1597 About the last journey of Willem Barentsz and Jacob van Heemskerk when they and their crew attempted sail to the Indies via North East passage over Russia.
Shōgun 1980 1600 loosely based on the adventures of William Adams, an English sailor who travelled to Japan in 1600 and served as a samurai and advisor to the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu
The New World 2005 1608 the colonization of Jamestown, Virginia
1612 2007 1612 Russia during the Time of Troubles
The Last Valley 1970 c. 1618-1648 Germany during the Thirty Years' War
Molière 1978 1622–1673 the French playwright Molière
Day of Wrath 1943 1624 using a fictitious witchcraft trial as a metaphor for the then current Nazi persecution of Jews
The Three Musketeers Several adaptations (1903–2011) 1625–1673 Based on the novels (' The Three Musketeers') by Alexandre Dumas
Cardinal Richelieu (film) 1935 1626–1642 the life of the great 17th-century French statesman Cardinal Richelieu and his dealings with Louis XIII of France
Alatriste 2006 1643 Life of a Spanish soldier (Capitaine Alatriste) until the battle of Rocroi based on the novel by Arturo Perez-Reverte
Queen Christina 1933 1632–1654 Queen Christina of Sweden
Le Roi danse 2000 1632–1687 Jean-Baptiste Lully
Black Robe 1991 1634 Jesuit missionary among the Hurons
The Devils 1971 1634 the life and trial of Urbain Grandier, who was convicted of witchcraft and burned
The Devil's Whore 2008 1638–1660 the English Civil War and the reign of Oliver Cromwell
Witchfinder General 1968 1640s during the English Civil War
Barbara 1997 1640 Faroe Islands
Cromwell 1970 1640–1653 the English Civil War and the dissolution of the Rump Parliament
Molière 2007 1645 the French playwright Molière
The Libertine 2004 1647–1680 life of the poet John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester
With Fire and Sword 1999 1648–1654 the Khmelnytsky Uprising in Ukraine
To Kill a King 2003 1648–1658 the reign of Oliver Cromwell
Charles II: The Power and The Passion 2003 1649–1685 the reign of Charles II of England
The Deluge 1974 1655–1660 Poland - the Second Northern War
The Man in the Iron Mask 1977 1660–1667 France in the reign of Louis XIV
Colonel Wolodyjowski 1968 1668 the Ottoman invasion of Poland
Vatel 2000 1671 France during the life of master chef François Vatel
The Prince of Homburg 1997 1675 adaptation of the Heinrich von Kleist play fictionalizing the deeds of Frederick II, Landgrave of Hesse-Homburg in the Battle of Fehrbellin against Sweden
Witchhammer 1970 1678–1696 Northern Moravia witch trials
The Red Violin 1998 1681 one section of the film is set in 1681 in Cremona
Peter the Great 1984 1682–1725 the reign of Peter I of Russia
The Cantor of St Thomas's 1984 1685–1750 Johann Sebastian Bach
The Crucible 1996 1692–1693 dramatization of the Salem witch trials that took place in Province of Massachusetts Bay
Tous les matins du monde 1991 late 17th century Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe
A Field in England 2013 1640's during the English Civil War

Films set in the 18th and 19th centuries[edit]

Films set in the 18th and 19th centuries
Title Release date Time period Notes on setting
The Sovereign's Servant 2007 1709 Battle of Poltava
Travel notes by Secret Chancellery' Forwarder 2009–2010 1710–1721 TV series about the reign of Peter the Great
Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue 1953 1713 Scottish folk hero Robert Roy MacGregor
Rob Roy 1995 1713 Scottish folk hero Robert Roy MacGregor
Blackbeard 2006 1718 the infamous pirate Edward Teach
King of the Wind 1990 1727 England
The Scarlet Empress 1934 1729–1796 Catherine II of Russia, the "enlightened despot" who reigned as Empress of Russia
Catherine the Great 1995 1729–1796 Catherine II of Russia
The Rise of Catherine the Great 1934 1740s early years of Catherine II of Russia
Young Catherine 1991 1744 early years of Catherine II of Russia
Chasing the Deer 1994 1745–1746 Jacobite Rising of 1745
The Master of Ballantrae 1953 1745–1746 Jacobite Rising of 1745
The Master of Ballantrae 1984 1745–1746 Jacobite Rising of 1745
Horseman 2003 1747 deals with the struggle of Dalmatians between two empires and two faiths and with the possibility of love affair between a Christian soldier and a Muslim noblewoman.
The Amazing Grace 2006 1748 tells the story of John Newton's transformation from slave trader to Anglican priest; story is set in Calabar, Nigeria
Plunkett & Macleane 1999 1748 Loosely based on The Gentlemen Highwaymen Will Plunkett & Captain James MacLaine
Treasure Island 1934 c. 1750 adaptation of the famous pirate story by Robert Louis Stevenson
Treasure Island 1950 c. 1750 adaptation of the famous pirate story by Robert Louis Stevenson
Treasure Island 1972 c. 1750 adaptation of the famous pirate story by Robert Louis Stevenson
Treasure Island 1990 c. 1750 adaptation of the famous pirate story by Robert Louis Stevenson
Roots 1977 1750–1880 the slave trade
Adesuwa 2012 1752 Benin Kingdom
Casanova 2005 1753–1757 Giacomo Casanova
A Tale of Two Cities 1911 1755–1792 England and France during the French Revolution
A Tale of Two Cities 1935 1755–1792 England and France during the French Revolution
A Tale of Two Cities 1958 1755–1792 England and France during the French Revolution
A Tale of Two Cities 1980 1755–1792 England and France during the French Revolution
A Tale of Two Cities 1989 1755–1792 England and France during the French Revolution
Amadeus 1984 1756–1791 Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Barry Lyndon 1975 1756–1789 the Seven Years' War, etc.
The Last of the Mohicans 1936 1757 French and Indian War
The Last of the Mohicans 1992 1757 French and Indian War
Northwest Passage 1940 1757 French and Indian War and the ranger campaign of Robert Rogers
Clive of India 1935 1757 Robert Clive in India and the Battle of Plassey
The Mission 1986 c. 1760-1763 Jesuit missionaries in South America
Belle 2013 1761–1804 the true history of a mixed–race daughter of a British Naval officer and an African woman. She was taken to England by her father to be raised by his uncle, the Lord Mansfield, as an aristocratic Lady, as befits her blood line. This forces Lord Mansfield, the Lord Chief Justice, to confront his own views on race, society and the antiquated laws of the time.
Mozart's Sister 2010 1763 the early life of Maria Anna Mozart, older sister of Wolfgang Mozart
Brotherhood of the Wolf 2001 1764–1767 based on a real-life series of killings that took place in France in the 18th century and on the famous legend around the Beast of Gévaudan
A Royal Affair 2012 1766–1783 Set at the court of the mentally ill King Christian VII of Denmark, and focuses on the romance between his wife, Caroline Matilda of Great Britain, and the royal physician Struensee.
Les Deux Fragonard 1989 c. 1768

story of the painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard his cousin, the anatomist Honoré Fragonard, called "Cyprien Fragonard" in the movie, and the supposed model for The Swing

The Duchess 2008 1770s - 1790s The life of Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire
John Adams 2008 1770–1826 The story about the American Founding Father John Adams from the Boston Massacre in 1770 to his death in 1826[3]
Marie Antoinette 1938 1774–1792 French queen Marie Antoinette
Marie Antoinette 2006 1774–1792 French queen Marie Antoinette
Drums Along the Mohawk 1939 1776 settlers during the American Revolution
The Crossing 2000 1776 the crossing of the Delaware River and the Battle of Trenton
Turn 2014 1776-1777 TV series about the first spies in America who helped the Patriots behind George Washington during the American Revolution
Revolution 1985 1776–1777 fictionalized story of the American Revolution in New York
Benedict Arnold: A Question of Honor 2003 1776–1782 Benedict Arnold, both an early hero of the American Revolution and a notorious traitor
The Patriot 2000 1776–1781 based on Continental Army officer Francis Marion during the American War of Independence
The Affair of the Necklace 2001 1780s Courtesan takes revenge by scamming Marie Antoinette, Cardinal de Rohan, and others, kindling flames of the French Revolution
Ridicule 1996 1783-1794 On the brink of the French Revolution. a minor baron and engineer from Lyon tries to gain audience with King Louis XVI in order to fund drainage of the mosquito-infested swamps bringing sickness and death to his region
Botany Bay 1953 1787 Fictional story about the First Fleet sailing to New South Wales
The Madness of King George 1994 1788 the deteriorating mental health of George III of the United Kingdom, King of Great Britain and Ireland
Mutiny on the Bounty 1935 1789 the mutiny on the Bounty
Mutiny on the Bounty 1962 1789 the mutiny on the Bounty
The Bounty 1984 1789 the mutiny on the Bounty
The French Revolution 1989 1789–1794 French Revolution
The Scarlet Pimpernel 1934 1792 French Revolution
The Scarlet Pimpernel 1982 1792 French Revolution
The Red Violin 1998 1793 one section of the film is set in Vienna in 1793
Charlotte Corday 2008 1793 Trial and Execution of Charlotte Corday After Murdering a Jacobin Newspaper Editor Jean Paul Marat
Danton 1983 1794 conflict between Georges Danton and Maximilien Robespierre
Beau Brummell 1954 c. 1795 Beau Brummell, a 19th-century arbiter of fashion in England who popularized the man's suit and necktie
Sangolli Rayanna (film) 2012 1798-1831 Film is about Sangolli Rayanna, a prominent freedom fighter from Karnataka, who fought the British till he was captured and executed in 1831
Sleepy Hollow (film) 1999 1799 In the years after the American Revolution, when a Headless Horseman hunted a little town.
Désirée 1954 1799–1815 the love story between Désirée Clary and Napoleon I
Napoléon 1927 1799–1815 Napoléon I of France
Napoléon 2002 1799–1815 Napoléon I of France
Vanity Fair 2004 1803–1814 the Napoleonic Era
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World 2003 1803–1805 during the Napoleonic Wars
War and Peace 1956 1803–1815 Russia during the Napoleonic Era
War and Peace 2007 1803–1815 Russia during the Napoleonic Era
War and Peace 1972 1803–1815 Russia during the Napoleonic Era
The Duellists 1977 1804–1814 the Napoleonic Wars
Conquest 1937 1806–1816 the love story between Marie Walewska and Napoleon I
Amazing Grace 2006 1807 William Wilberforce's campaign to abolish slavery in the British Empire
Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. 1951 1807 the Napoleonic Wars
Lady Caroline Lamb 1972 c. 1810-1828 Lady Caroline Lamb, the British aristocrat, novelist and Lord Byron's lover
Waterloo 1970 1815 Battle of Waterloo
Les Misérables 1934 1815–1832 France after Napoleon I
Les Misérables 1935 1815–1832 France after Napoleon I
Les Misérables 1995 1815–1832 France after Napoleon I
Les Misérables 1998 1815–1832 France after Napoleon I
Les Misérables 2000 1815–1832 France after Napoleon I
Les Misérables 2012 1815-1832 France after Napoleon I
The Count of Monte Cristo 1934 1815–1838 France after Napoleon I
The Count of Monte Cristo 1975 1815–1838 France after Napoleon I
The Count of Monte Cristo 2002 1814–1831 France after Napoleon I Unlike the first two films, this version states 1814 at the start. Dantes' plan happens over a three year period, having been imprisoned for thirteen years, as is stated during the film. the ending is set shortly after Albert's sixteenth birthday, having been born in 1815.
Shaka Zulu 1986 1816–1828 Shaka, a Zulu King
Bright Star 2009 1818–1821 the last three years of poet John Keats' life
El Santo de la Espada 1970 1821–1822 José de San Martín and the emancipation of South America
Bouboulina 1959 1821–1829 Laskarina Bouboulina, heroine of the Greek War of Independence
The Deceivers 1988 1825 British officer in India investigates the thugee cult
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser 1974 1828–1833 Germany - Kaspar Hauser
Kaspar Hauser 1993 1828–1833 Germany - Kaspar Hauser
The Horseman on the Roof 1995 1832 Second cholera pandemic in France
The Alamo 1960 1836 Battle of the Alamo
The Alamo 2004 1836 Battle of the Alamo
The Young Victoria 2009 1837 - 1840s Early reign of Queen Victoria and her marriage to Albert, Prince Consort
Amistad 1997 1839–1841 mutiny aboard a ship containing African slaves bound for the Cuba, and the subsequent trial
12 Years a Slave 2013 1841 - 1853 The story of free African American Solomon Northup after he was abducted and sold into slavery. Based on the autobiography of the same name
How the West Was Won 1962 1839–1889 U.S. expansion into and settlement of the West
Song of Love 1947 1840–1856 The marriage of Robert and Clara Schumann and their close friendship with Johannes Brahms
The Emigrants 1971 1840s the Swedish immigrants in Minnesota
Edward the Seventh 1975 1841–1910 Edward VII, the life of Edward VII
Gangs of New York 2002 1846–1863 New York City during the American Civil War
Eureka Stockade 1949 1854 Peter Lalor and the gold miners' rebellion at the Eureka Stockade (Ballarat, Australia)
The Charge of the Light Brigade 1968 1854 the disaster of the Crimean War known as the Charge of the Light Brigade
Sissi (film) 1955 1854 It is the first installment in the trilogy of films about Empress Elisabeth of Austria
Sissi – The Young Empress 1956 1855-1856 Sissi adapts to life as empress of Austria
Quanto è bello lu murire acciso 1976 1857 failed rising organized by Carlo Pisacane in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
Mountains of the Moon 1990 1857–1858 journey of Richard Francis Burton and John Hanning Speke in their expedition to central Africa
Ride with the Devil 1999 1861–1864 pro-Confederate guerrilla fighters in Missouri
Gone with the Wind 1939 1861–1877 Georgia during the American Civil War and the Reconstruction
Mrs. Brown 1997 1861–1883 Queen Victoria and John Brown
Glory 1989 1862–1863 the American Civil War from the Battle of Antietam to the Second Battle of Fort Wagner
Gettysburg 1993 1863 the Battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil War
Wyatt Earp 1994 1863–1884 events leading up to and following the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
Lincoln 2012 Early 1865 Events chronicling the last few months of the life of Abraham Lincoln.
The Conspirator 2011 April 1865 Based on the events of the aftermath of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
Dances with Wolves 1990 c. 1865-1870 the American Civil War and shortly after in the American West and interaction with the Lakota Sioux
Young Winston 1972 1874–1902 the biography Winston Churchill before he became Britain's World War II-era Prime Minister
Centennial Summer 1946 1876 set in Philadelphia at the time of the Centennial Exposition
Wild Bill 1995 1876 the last days of legendary lawman Wild Bill Hickok
Deadwood 2004–2006 1876–1877 historical drama based on actual diaries of residents of Deadwood, South Dakota, includes the last days of Wild Bill Hickok
The Last Samurai 2003 1876–1877 in the wake of the Meiji Restoration in the Empire of Japan, 1876–1877
Zulu Dawn 1979 1879 the Battle of Isandlwana during the Anglo-Zulu War
Zulu 1964 1879 the Battle of Rorke's Drift during the Anglo-Zulu War
Thousand Pieces of Gold 1991 1880s Chinese immigrant woman in the American Old West
From Hell 2001 1881 Set in London, about the Jack the Ripper murders
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford 2007 1881–1892 the end of Jesse James' career as a criminal and the man who eventually kills him, Robert Ford in 1882
The Miracle Worker 1962 1880-1887 The early childhood of Helen Keller, her infancy contraction of blindness and deafness and Anne Sullivan's arrival
Tombstone 1993 1881–1884 events leading up to and following the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
The Four Feathers 1939 1882–1888 during the British army's Gordon Relief Expedition
The Four Feathers 2002 1882–1888 during the British army's Gordon Relief Expedition
Khartoum 1966 1884 Gordon's defence of the Sudanese city of Khartoum from the forces of the Mahdist army during the Siege of Khartoum
Geronimo: An American Legend 1993 1886 events leading up to the capture of Geronimo
Jack the Ripper 1988 1888 based on the famous unsolved series of murders that took place in Whitechapel, London
Mayerling 1968 1888-1889 [Based on the Mayerling incident, a series of events leading to the apparent murder-suicide of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria]
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 1969 1890s-1908 Butch Cassidy and Harry Longabaugh
El Presidente 2012 1896-1964 Philippine Revolution and the final years and death of Emilio Aguinaldo
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee 2007 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre
Heaven's Gate 1980 1892 the Johnson County War
Gandhi 1982 1893–1948 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Rough Riders 1997 1898 the Battle of San Juan Hill, part of the Spanish–American War

Films set in the early/mid 20th century[edit]

Films set in the early/mid 20th century
Title Release date Time period Notes on setting
55 Days at Peking 1963 1900 Battle of Peking during the Boxer Rebellion
Breaker Morant 1980 1901 an Australian Lieutenant, Harry "Breaker" Morant, who ordered the summary execution of several prisoners during the Second Boer War
Meet Me in St. Louis 1944 1904 life of a middle-class American family at the time of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition
The Battleship Potemkin 1925 1905 the Battleship Potemkin uprising
A Dangerous Method 2011 1904–1912 covers personal and professional relationship between Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud and Sabina Spielrein
Titanic 1943 1912 the Titanic disaster
A Night to Remember 1958 1912 the Titanic disaster
Titanic 1997 1912 the Titanic disaster
Reds 1981 1912-1920 Russian Revolution
Doctor Zhivago 1965 1912–1923 World War I, the Russian Revolution and the Russian Civil War
La Masseria Delle Allodole 2007 1915 World War I, the Armenian Genocide
Ararat 2002 1915 Turkey, the Armenian Genocide
All Quiet On The Western Front 1930 1914–1918 World War I
All Quiet On The Western Front 1979 1914–1918 Western Front of World War I
Gallipoli 1981 1914–1915 Gallipoli Campaign of World War I
Flyboys 2006 1914–1917 American volunteer combat pilots in service for the Allies during World War I
A Very Long Engagement 2004 1914–1920s Western Front of World War I
The Aviator 2004 1914-1947 biopic about Howard Hughes
Lawrence of Arabia 1962 1916–1918 T. E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt
Michael Collins 1996 1916–1922 later life of Irish resistance leader Michael Collins and his participation in the Irish War of Independence
The Lighthorsemen 1987 1917 Battle of Beersheba
The Lost Battalion 1919 1918 units of the 77th Infantry Division penetrating deep into the Argonne Forest of France during World War I, under the command of Major Charles White Whittlesey are trapped and surrounded by the German army
The Lost Battalion 2001 1918 units of the 77th Infantry Division penetrating deep into the Argonne Forest of France during World War I, under the command of Major Charles White Whittlesey are trapped and surrounded by the German army
Nicholas and Alexandra 1971 1904-1918 last 14 years of Russia's last tsar, includes World War I, the Russian Revolution, the Russian Civil War and the royal family's deaths.
The Wind that Shakes the Barley 2006 1919–1923 the Irish War of Independence and the Irish Civil War
Chariots of Fire 1981 1919–1924 British runners face prejudice and compete in the Paris Olympics
Evita 1996 1919–1952 Evita Peron
J. Edgar 2011 1919–1972 Life and career of J. Edgar Hoover, FBI-Director from 1935 to 1972
Legionnaire 1998 1920–1926 Second Moroccan War
Anastasia 1956 1920s based upon Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia and the activities of Anna Anderson
The First of the Few 1942 1922-1936 aircraft engineer R.J. Mitchell designs the Spitfire despite his failing health
The King's Speech 2010 1924-1939 The quest of King George VI to overcome his stammer.
The Ogre 1996 1925-1945 The account of a simple Frenchman who recruits children to the Nazis in the belief that he is protecting them
Road to Perdition 2002 winter 1931 A man seeks vengeance against a mobster
The Legend of Bagger Vance 2000 1931 set in Savannah, Georgia; loosely based on the Bhagavad Gita
Bonnie and Clyde 1967 1931–1934 Bonnie and Clyde
Public Enemies 2009 1933-1934 Set during the Great Depression, it chronicles the final years of the notorious bank robber John Dillinger.
A Pearl in the Forest 2008 1934–1938 set during the Great Purges initiated by Joseph Stalin in Mongolia
Atonement 2007 1935–1940 A romantic suspense war film, set in the late 1930s and 1940 in Britain.
Olga 2004 1935–1942 The relationship between German-Brazilian communist militant Olga Benário and one of the main leaders of the opposition against Brazilian dictatorship of Getúlio Vargas, Luís Carlos Prestes.
The Hindenburg 1975 1937 the Hindenburg disaster
The Flowers of War 2012 1937 the Nanking Massacre
Schindler's List 1993 1939–1945 German industrialist Oskar Schindler's assistance to keep Jewish people from being interred in concentration camps during World War II
The Last Bastion 1984 1939–1945 Australia during World War II
The Pianist 2002 1939–1945 Poland during World War II
Battle of Britain 1969 1940 the Battle of Britain
Malèna 2000 1940–1944 Italy during World War II
The Way Back 2010 1941 escape from a Siberian Gulag
Sink the Bismarck! 1960 May 1941 World War II German battleship Bismarck
Defiance 2008 August 1941 Story of three Jewish brothers of the Bielski partisans who saved and recruited Jews during the Nazi occupation of Belarus.
Tora! Tora! Tora! 1970 December 7, 1941 the attack on Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor 2001 December 1941 the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and Doolittle Raid
The Pacific 2010 1942–1946 Focuses on the United States Marine Corps' actions in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II
Midway 1976 June 1942 the Battle of Midway
The Bridge on the River Kwai 1957 1942–1943 construction of the Burma Railway by British prisoners of war during World War II
Jinnah 1998 1920–1947 Role of Muhammad Ali Jinnah in independence of Pakistan
Sophie Scholl – The Final Days 2005 February 1943 The ultimate days of a Weibe Rose revolutionary Sophia Magdalena Scholl Who actively opposing the Third Reich, until her execution and death
Stalingrad 1993 August 1942-February 1943 The Battle of Stalingrad from a German perspective.
The Thin Red Line 1998 August 1942-February 1943 The Battle of Guadalcanal
Band of Brothers 2001 1942–1945 Centers on the combat experiences of E Company ("Easy Company") of the 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment assigned to the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army in the western front of the European Theatre during World War II.
Enemy at the Gates 2001 winter 1942-1943 Vasily Zaytsev in the Battle of Stalingrad
Cross of Iron 1977 spring 1943 Eastern Front
The Dam Busters 1955 May 1943 development of the Upkeep bouncing bomb and its use in Operation Chastise
Memphis Belle 1990 May 1943 a U.S. bombing mission over Germany during World War II
Patton 1970 1943–1945 the exploits of General George S. Patton during World War II
Red Tails 2012 1944 Tuskegee Airmen during World War II
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas 2008 1944 The Holocaust
The Longest Day 1962 June 6, 1944 the D-Day invasion
Saving Private Ryan 1998 June 1944 D-Day and its aftermath
Windtalkers 2002 June–July 1944 Focuses on Navajo code talkers during the Battle of Saipan
Valkyrie 2008 1944 set in Nazi Germany during World War II. It depicts the 20 July plot in 1944 by German army officers to assassinate Adolf Hitler and to use the Operation Valkyrie national emergency plan to take control of the country.
A Bridge Too Far 1977 September 1944 Operation Market Garden
Kanal 1956 September 1944 Warsaw Uprising
Saints and Soldiers 2003 December 1944-January 1945 Malmedy massacre and its aftermath during the Battle of the Bulge.
Battle of the Bulge (film) 1965 December 1944-January 1945 The Battle of the Bulge.
The Great Raid 2005 January 1945 Liberation of the Cabanatuan Prison Camp on the island of Luzon, Philippines .
Flags of Our Fathers 2006 February–March 1945 the Battle of Iwo Jima
Letters from Iwo Jima 2006 February–March 1945 the Battle of Iwo Jima from a Japanese perspective.
Downfall 2005 April–May 1945 the last days of the Third Reich
Ashes and Diamonds 1958 May 1945 Polish Home Army soldiers assigned to assassinate a Communist commissar
The Good German 2006 July–August 1945 during the Potsdam Conference
Nuremberg 2000 November 1945-October 1946 the first of the Nuremberg Trials
Judgment at Nuremberg 1961 1947 the Judges' Trial
The Black Dahlia 2006 1947 The murder and investigation of Elizabeth Short
Exodus 1960 1947–1948 foundation of Israel
Cast a Giant Shadow 1966 1948 U.S. Colonel Mickey Marcus's involvement in the Israeli war of independence

Films set in the later 20th century[edit]

Films set in the later 20th century
Title Release date Time period Notes on setting
The Good Shepherd 2006 1938–1961 rise of Central Intelligence Agency Counter-intelligence leading up to the Bay of Pigs Invasion
The German Doctor 2013 1960 Nazi world criminal Josef Mengele's life in Argentina
Evita 1996 1926-1952 Rise of One of Argentina's Most Powerful First Ladies Maria Eva Duarte de Peron
Frances 1982 1931-1958 Life of actress Frances Farmer
The Right Stuff 1983 1947–1963 the Project Mercury space launches
American Hot Wax 1978 1950s disc jockey Alan Freed's involvement in rock and roll
Good Night, and Good Luck 2005 1953 the conflict between veteran radio and television journalist Edward R. Murrow and U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy relating to the anti-Communist Senator's actions with the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations
The People vs. Larry Flynt 1996 1953-1988 biopic about Larry Flynt
The Quiet American 2002 1954 early American covert involvement in Vietnam
The Battle of Algiers 1966 1954–1960 during the Algerian War of Independence
Lumumba 2000 1955–1961 Path of the first Prime Minister of the Belgian Congo Patrice Lumumba and his killing
Che 2008 1955–1967 The life and death of Che Guevara
The Motorcycle Diaries 2004 1955–1967 The life of Che Guevara
Goodfellas 1990 1955-1980 biopic about mobster Henry Hill
Blow 2001 1955-1994 biopic about drug trafficker George Jung
Nasser 56 1996 1956 the Suez Crisis from the Egyptian point of view
Great Balls of Fire! 1989 1956–1958 rock and roller Jerry Lee Lewis
Quiz Show 1994 1956–1958 Twenty-One Quiz show scandals
Scandal 1989 1959–1963 Christine Keeler, Stephen Ward and the Profumo Affair
K-19: The Widowmaker 2002 1961, 1989 Soviet submarine K-19 nuclear disaster
Saving Mr. Banks 2013 1961-1964 Events surrounding the development of Mary Poppins
JFK 1991 1961–1966 the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and subsequent investigation
Thirteen Days 2000 October 1962 the Cuban Missile Crisis
Z 1969 1963 the assassination of Grigoris Lambrakis
Catch Me If You Can 2002 1963-1974 the life of Frank Abagnale, a con artist and famous check forger.
Ghosts of Mississippi 1996 1963-1990s events surrounding the murder of civil rights activist Medgar Evers
Mississippi Burning 1988 1964 the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation investigation into the Mississippi civil rights workers murders
The Doors 1991 1964–1971 biopic about the 1960s-1970s rock band of the same name which emphasizes the life of its lead singer, Jim Morrison
Born on the Fourth of July 1989 1965–1968 Ron Kovic's experiences in the Vietnam War
Apollo 13 1995 April 1970 Apollo 13 lunar mission
The Year of Living Dangerously 1982 1965 set in Indonesia during the overthrow of President Sukarno
We Were Soldiers 2002 November 1965 the Battle of Ia Drang in the Vietnam War
W. 2008 1966–2003 The life and presidency of George W. Bush
Platoon 1985 1967–1968 Vietnam War
Half of a Yellow Sun 2013 1967 - 1970 the Nigerian Civil War
Bobby 2006 1968 the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy
Heaven & Earth 1993 1960s - 1980s Vietnam War
Full Metal Jacket 1987 1968 Battle of Hue in the Vietnam War
Coming Home 1978 1968 Vietnam War
The Damned United 2009 1968-1975 Brian Clough as manager of Derby County and Leeds United
The Deer Hunter 1978 1968–1975 Vietnam War
Hamburger Hill 1987 1969 Battle of Hamburger Hill in the Vietnam War
Nixon 1995 1969–1974 the political life of Richard M. Nixon
Zodiac 2007 1969–1975 the Zodiac murders in the United States
The Odd Angry Shot 1979 late 1960s experiences of Australian soldiers during the Vietnam War
Apocalypse Now 1979 1969 Vietnam War
Milk 2008 1970–1978 gay rights activist Harvey Milk
The Last King of Scotland 2006 1971–1976 Ugandan President Idi Amin
Bloody Sunday 2002 January 1972 Bloody Sunday shootings in Northern Ireland
All the President's Men 1976 1972 the Nixon-era Watergate scandal
Alive 1993 1972 Crash of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571
Cry Freedom 1987 1972–1978 Steve Biko and Donald Woods in the apartheid era of South Africa
Munich 2005 1972–1979 Mossad efforts to avenge the murder of Israeli athletes during the 1972 Summer Olympics
Missing 1982 1973 the coup d'état in Chile and the murder of Charles Horman
The Killing Fields 1984 1973–1979 the Khmer Rouge's genocide
Balibo 2009 1975 the invasion of East Timor and the Balibo Five
Raid on Entebbe 1977 1976 the July 1976 rescue of passengers from a hijacked plane
Frost/Nixon 2008 1977 the Frost-Nixon interviews
Boogie Nights 1997 1977-1984 the rise & fall of fictional pornographic film star Dirk Diggler
Summer of Sam 1999 1977 the Son of Sam murders in New York City
Gracie 2007 1978 six years after the introduction of Title IX
Secretariat 2010 1979 race horse Secretariat.
54 1998 1979 the last year of Studio 54 in New York City.
Argo 2012 1979-1980 a portrayal of the CIA's role in the Canadian Caper.
Miracle 2004 February 1980 the U.S. hockey team's gold medal victory at the 1980 Winter Olympics
Goodbye Bafana 2007 c. 1980-1990 Nelson Mandela's imprisonment
Wonderland 2003 1981 Wonderland murders
Hunger 2008 1981 1981 Irish hunger strike
An Ungentlemanly Act 1992 1982 the first days of the invasion of the Falkland Islands
Tumbledown 1988 1982 Falklands War
Paid in Full 2002 1985 during the Crack Epidemic of the 1980s
Catch a Fire 2006 1980–1994 set during the early 1980s concerning the plight of the ANC's military wing in the apartheid era of South Africa
Charlie Wilson's War 2007 1980–1989 CIA's covert involvement in the Soviet-Afghan War
Jarhead 2005 1989–1991 Persian Gulf War
Three Kings 1999 1991 1991 Iraqi uprising against Saddam Hussein and aftermath of the Persian Gulf War
The Perfect Storm 2002 1991 1991 Perfect Storm
Snowtown 2011 1992–1999 Snowtown murders
Black Hawk Down 2001 1993 the Battle of Mogadishu, Somali Civil War
The Fighter 2010 1993 about boxer Mickey Ward and his family
Hotel Rwanda 2004 1994 Rwandan Genocide
Shooting Dogs 2005 1994 Rwandan Genocide
Sometimes in April 2005 1994 Rwandan Genocide
Invictus 2009 1991–1995 Post-apartheid South Africa and the 1995 Rugby World Cup
The Special Relationship 2010 1994–2001 the UK–US Special Relationship between Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair and President of the United States Bill Clinton
Savior 1998 c. 1995 during the Bosnian War in former Yugoslavia
Behind Enemy Lines 2001 1995 the Mrkonjić Grad incident during the Bosnian War in former Yugoslavia
The Queen 2006 1997 a fictional account of the immediate events following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales
Open Water 2004 1998 Tom and Eileen Lonergan
Blood Diamond 2006 1999 during the Sierra Leone Civil War

Films set in the 21st century[edit]

Films set in the 21st century
Title Release date Time period Notes on setting
World Trade Center 2006 September 11, 2001 September 11 attacks
Flight 93 2006 September 11, 2001 September 11 attacks
In The Name Of God 2007 September 11, 2001 relate to South Asian culture and the subsequent misinterpretations of Islam in Pakistan's society.
United 93 2006 September 11, 2001 September 11 attacks
In the Valley of Elah 2007 2004 the murder of an Iraq War veteran and the subsequent investigation
Lions for Lambs 2007 c. 2005 the War in Afghanistan
The Hurt Locker 2008 c. 2006 the Iraq War
Green Zone 2010 c. 2005 the Iraq War
Margin Call 2011 2008 collapse of a large investment firm ahead of the 2008 financial meltdown
Too Big to Fail 2011 2008 the 2008 financial meltdown
The Impossible 2012 2004 the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, from the viewpoint of a tourist family in Thailand
Last Flight to Abuja 2012 2006 the series of 2006 airplane crashes in Nigeria
Zero Dark Thirty 2012 2001-2012 the finding and assassination of Osama Bin Laden
The Fifth Estate 2013 2007-2010 about Julian Assange and the foundation of his news-leaking site Wikileaks
Lone Survivor 2013 2005 based on the 2007 nonfiction book of the same name about Operation Red Wings by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

  • History on Film - A historian looks at how Hollywood has presented historical events in the films.
  • Fraser, George McDonald, The Hollywood History of the World, from One Million Years B.C. to 'Apocalypse Now', London: M. Joseph, 1988; "First U.S. ed.", New York: Beech Tree Books, cop. 1988. Both eds. collate thus: xix, 268 p., amply ill. (b&w photos). ISBN 0-7181-2997-0 (U.K. ed.), 0-688-07520-7 (U.S. ed.)